Touch it Once

Ready to try something with me? I’m an organization neat-freak and have an “everything in its place” mentality.

Are you with me?

finger2Lately, as our work has picked up and the abundance of email, mail and projects have landed on my desk, I’m running out of time. So I need to save time and energy in order to get it all done.

Recently I was reminded of a concept that worked for me in the past. It’s time to go back to the simple concept.

Touch everything once.

What does it mean? As you receive something, deal with it instantly. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a file box, container or email program that holds things. In fact, I would recommend creating a schedule to deal with all the “in” things of your day. Say, once a morning and once an afternoon. But when you start going through the stuff, choose to touch it only once and do one of the following:

  • File it (put it in a place you can find later if needed).
  • Delegate it. Write a simple post-in note or forward the email with a short note. Give it a time frame if you need followup.
  • Trash it. Many things that cross my desk don’t need further action (spam, ads, jokes, comments, direct mail, etc).
  • Respond. Reply to the email (or mail) right then — it’ll take more time later to re-read it and respond later.
  • Create a to-do list of all the things that are left over (hopefully a manageable list; or revisit the delegation step!)

This week, I’m going to touch it once. It saves time and clears piles. Join me and let me know how it works!

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